Built to Shine
Bec Brideson shares her expertise on how gender intelligence can equip businesses to better understand today’s customer and discusses just how much influence the female economy can have on business.
After spending over two decades working as a creative in the notoriously male-dominated advertising industry, Bec Brideson has learned a thing or two about gender intelligence. Having climbed the career ladder throughout the 90s, when advertising was experiencing a boom in cultural popularity, Brideson became a creative director of an ad agency – a rare occurrence for a woman at that time. It wasn’t an easy road to the top, and Brideson talks openly about the realisation that if she was going to succeed, then she was going to have to look, and learn, through the eyes of a man. “I learned early on that my first audience was going to be my male creative director,” says Brideson. “And if I got my ideas through to him then I would get to make an ad.”
Through her years of experience working with brands, and their male-focused campaigns, Brideson recognised that women were fast becoming the untapped market. She decided to start her own agency, which would sensitively refocus businesses to look at things from a more gender intelligent perspective. “Over the years I learned that if brands wait for the advertising world to solve the problem of connecting with female consumers, then it’s too late,” she says. “I wanted to be the person introducing a new way of thinking into the core of a business so that the way that it thinks both internally and externally is in a gender intelligent way.”
Brideson developed this notion of gender intelligence in marketing even further for a period of over 12 years, and 18 months ago opened her consultancy firm as a way to introduce this new way of thinking about gender to businesses. Her recently launched book, Blind Spots: How To Uncover and Attract The Fastest Emerging Economy, delves into her methodology even further, using facts and figures to demonstrate the power of the female dollar. “There are a lot of statistics, information and research in the book,” she says. “When you’re trying to convince an audience that change needs to happen, you need all that information behind you. It’s not a feminist or even a female manifesto; it’s simply looking at ways to improve your returns.”
Brideson states that being gender intelligent is relevant for all businesses whether run by men or women and, in a nutshell, it all boils down to looking at your business through the eyes of a female and seeing if the ideas change. “According to the Harvard Business Review, women are now a $28 trillion global consumer economy, and the global bank put the entire global consumer economy at $35 trillion,” she says. “Other figures have shown that women are responsible for 90 percent of most purchases that come in through their front door and EY [formerly Ernst & Young] says that, by 2028, women will be responsible for 75 percent of discretionary spend.